Yesterday I attended a protest march being held to call attention to the harm to health and the environment that industrial wind turbines are causing. It was a pretty well attended march considering the first winter storm had rolled through overnight making some roads very slippery and a nervous trip for even the most confident driver.
We gathered, our signs held high and with police escort made our way up the main street stopping first at the health unit for a speech and photo op, and then on to our supportive MPP’s office who, to everyone’s delight was on hand to greet us with some words of encouragement on a cold Saturday morning.
There were some reporters present, one who preceded the crowd snapping shots and getting comment and another I noticed jotting down notes, asking questions and listening intently at the MPP stop.
I was standing beside a man I’ll call “Chuck” who, by reading many of his past columns, I knew was a little more sympathetic to the wind developers and green energy proponents.
Chuck had a slight smirk on his face when someone mentioned the health effects. He didn’t respond so I asked him if he had read up on the evidence released at a recent health symposium about the health effects caused by these big turbines. Certainly he had read it he assured me but it’s just a big fight. The wind companies have their doctors who say there is no problem and then there are these other doctors saying the opposite.
Even the chief public health doctor says there is no problem. A couple of us explained to Chuck that the chief doctor didn’t actually do a health study or speak to anyone having problems. She just reviewed existing literature and basically did a cherry picked book report including some information that was quite old when turbines were much smaller. Chuck hadn’t looked at the chief doctor’s report that way before.
But wait he said, thousands are turning in Europe without a problem. Sure, certainly there are some of the smaller older generation turbines that have less impact, but the new ones in Europe are the same size as we have and they too are causing health problems.
Geez he said. I wish there were some people, engineers and doctors that would come into this without any ties to the wind companies or the anti-wind people and do some studies. They have to be independent.
Chuck wanted the same thing every other confused person wants. The problem is that once these independent people go public with their findings they are automatically labelled anti-wind. Independents can’t stay independent largely due to the media.
Do you understand the predicament Chuck? We have on one side doctors who full heartedly support the wind industry without ever having talked with those suffering or doing any health studies and will sign their names to a report saying they are harmless, and we have what are independents that are talking to the homeowners who are sick and when they bring forth this information they are called anti-wind and fear mongers’. Where can an ‘independent’ fit in this issue?
Well, those anti-wind activists can get pretty mean and loud he said. Chuck, those people are just regular people who are trying to protect themselves. They’ve seen what has happened so far to their friends or relatives and they want it to stop. Nobody lived their life an activist before. We are all just regular people with regular families and jobs from across this big province. People just like you.
I don’t know, Chuck said. I just don’t know what to think.
OK then, let’s take look at those who have had to get out of their homes. If I’m having a problem Chuck, people who are ‘pro-wind’ like to say I’m just mad because I didn’t sign any contract for money. It doesn’t matter what my character was before the problems started, I will be called everything from a chronic complainer to a radical for the anti-wind people. On the other hand if I don’t say anything, all I will ever hear is where are the victims? How many are there and where do they live?
Do you think that any rational person in a small community is going to subject themselves and their children to the anti-wind label Chuck? They are at the mercy of the government and the wind developer to help them. Do you think they are going to risk ticking off the only people with the power to help? Yes, of course those people should be calling their health department or writing kind and thoughtful letters to their government officials to let them know what is happening in their home and ask them for help. How many letters would you like to see Chuck?
These people can’t shut the turbines or transformers off. They can’t call the cops when they can’t sleep because of them. They can call the government ministry which history shows will do nothing. These companies can run out of compliance and nothing will happen. If you speed on a highway you get a fine, right Chuck? If you cause a public disturbance or are a nuisance to your neighbour you get thrown in jail. These people can break regulations all day long and they get a free pass. They don’t get fined like you and I do.
Well then, why don’t these people get lawyers and sue? asks Chuck. Yes, that is an option but people who have looked into that before found it could cost in the neighbourhood of $100,000 to litigate. Where does a homeowner come up with that kind of money? Would you have that kickin’ around Chuck if it were you who couldn’t live in your home?
A well versed local then explained to Chuck the problems that the homeowners are experiencing. Not only loud and cyclical noise that causes serious sleep disturbance but also the infrasound, measured and documented, that assaults the body with a low level type of pounding making people sick. He mentioned some of the original experiments of early pioneers who discovered infrasound and the harm to the human body it caused, and also the fact that the US government has tools to use infrasound as a weapon. The problem is that infrasound carries far and wide. It is not directional so the use of the weapon would hurt many not just a single target. Sound at all familiar?
I could sense the cogs were turning in Chuck’s head. The government knows all of this Chuck and the confusion is sure to continue until this government, who is supposed to be the ‘ independent’ that you long for, comes forward with all of their knowledge and all of the engineering reports and all of the evidence that has been sent to them and they admit there is a problem. Maybe then, those like you who are confused will get the real story from the people who are supposed to be looking out for all of us.